Weekend reads: Climate skeptic students, the "good old days," tech billionaires' influence on schools

Kristin Tyndall's reads

Why do some people long for the "good old days"? Most Americans (53%) think the American way of life has gotten worse since the 1950s. In the past, psychologists thought of nostalgia as a kind of potentially dangerous escapism, but some researchers are now using nostalgia as a helpful coping mechanism for people working through difficult transitions, such as trauma or loss.

A new science teacher faces a class of climate skeptic students in this excellent article from the New York Times. Writer Amy Harmon delves into the psychology of the students, who face immense pressure from economic change (their town was built on coal and manufacturing), their families (many of whom are climate skeptics themselves), and their peers (gossiping about the class and climate change over text messages and the lunch table). One student changes her mind, one student doesn't, and one teacher emerges with regrets.

Seren Snow's reads

The New York Times wrote a piece about the amount of influence tech billionaires have exerted on some of the nation’s public school systems. For example, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and the chief executive of Netflix, Reed Hastings, have made efforts to personalize learning for students. The article seems to question the intentions of their philanthropy, but I personally think public school districts should continue partnering with these individuals. Districts could retain control over major decisions and control the extent to which their schools are reformed.  

Having my SAT or ACT exams get lost after studying so hard for them would be my worst nightmare. But that’s exactly what happened to 125 students who took the ACT in Los Angeles recently. One parent says the delay could affect his child’s success in the early decision application cycle. Another said that even though ACT officials said they would pay for a retake, their child was not mentally prepared yet to take it again, after such an emotional experience. That’s completely understandable. This happened last in 2014, when 182 students in Pennsylvania had their ACT answer sheets disappear. They were found after the students had already retaken it.

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